From the Upcoming Anthology: Musings From A Demented Mind by Derek Ailes & James Coon
Author Mark Cusco Ailes opened the totes containing all of his and Derek Ailes’ novels while Derek began to set the table up for their latest book signing. Several other authors had showed up for the 2015 Hammond Public Library Local Author’s Book Fair. He recognized a majority of them. No matter what book fair they set up at in Northwest Indiana, it was always the same authors. They had become their touring family. All genres were present: children’s fiction, romance, paranormal, poetry, and all of the fantasy and horror madness that he and his brother ─ the Ailes Brothers of Terror ─ had brought.
With the table setup finally completed, Derek began to take pictures for their official author’s website and their Facebook page.
“Take off your Avengers hat. What are you a horror author or a geek?” Mark asked.
“A horror author,” Derek answered as he angrily threw his hat into one of the totes exposing his bald head.
The lights in the room flickered briefly as the thunderstorm outside gained momentum.
“How come every time we come to Hammond it storms?” Mark asked.
“Wherever the Ailes Brothers of Terror go, the bad storms follow. Now if only we can get our so-called Facebook friends to follow us as well,” Derek said.
The sound of the rain pouring down echoed throughout the room. They both looked concerned since not many people would risk traveling during a severe thunderstorm, especially to a library.
“I guess we should go mingle,” Derek suggested.
“Derek, the photographer should be here soon. We shouldn’t venture away too long.”
Two days earlier, they were interviewed by the local newspaper about their writing career. The photographer was coming to the book fair to get some shots of them selling their books. The newspaper normally didn’t do articles about local authors since there were so many. Being they were a horror writing team, they had a brand which most other authors didn’t possess. They were popular in Northwest Indiana, and their books were beginning to sell well on Amazon, especially in the UK.
Derek watched as Sandra walked in with her husband who was carrying a cardboard standup of Elvis Presley. She used to hang out with Elvis and wrote a book about him. She had tons of pictures of her and Elvis together.
Derek was only two years old when Elvis died. He always wondered what music he would have recorded if he was still alive in the eighties.
Sandra’s husband stood the Elvis standup up and faced it toward the door where it would be the first thing people saw when they entered the room.
The lights in the room went dark for a minute and then came back on. The thunder outside sounded real close.
“Hammond strikes again,” Mark said and the other authors laughed. He looked over at Derek, “We better get back to our table.”
A couple of families entered the room to hang out with one of the authors. A few people came in after them, but it was relatively dead. One hour into the fair, the reporter came in and immediately took a picture of the Elvis standup. He walked around the room until he found their table and began taking photos. He chatted with Mark and Derek for a few minutes and then left. By the second hour, the storm had passed and people were coming in at a steady pace purchasing books from several authors.
As the book fair came to a close, the authors took down their displays and packed away all of their books. Derek and Mark, satisfied they had another successful book fair selling several books each, walked out of the library to put everything back into their purple PT Cruiser.
“Excuse me, sir,” somebody, talking in a way only an Elvis impersonator or Elvis himself would speak, said. “I was wondering if I can chat with you for a second.”
The man was dressed in a fancy red costume similar to one of Elvis’ flashy outfits and was wearing sunglasses and looked like the Elvis from the sixties. He smelled like Brut.
“Sandra left the building already,” Derek said.
“I actually came to see you, Derek of the Ailes Brothers of Terror.” He shook his hand, like he was in the middle of a performance, as he spoke.
“You came to see me? I’m more famous than I thought. You sound just like Elvis. You must be a professional impersonator.”
“I’m not an impersonator. I’m the real deal,” he said and sang “Suspicious Minds” and stopped after a few verses. “I’m here to warn you.”
“A warning from Elvis? Is this Candid Camera?” Derek looked around for some cameraman videotaping them from a distance. He looked over at Mark who shrugged his shoulders.
“Let’s try to be serious for a moment,” Elvis said impatiently. “Derek, you are on a path that will lead you to much peril. In a few days you are going to embark on a path that will have serious repercussions in the future.”
“Mark, let me introduce you to the Time-Traveling Elvis,” Derek said sarcastically.
“You will eventually be a number one best-selling horror author surpassing Stephen King.”
“And this is a bad thing?” Derek said, instantly imagining himself surrounded by millions of fans demanding his autograph. Gorgeous women throwing themselves at his feet. Blockbuster movies being made out all of his novels.
“You will go on an Elvis bashing campaign that will destroy my legacy.”
“Sounds like a perfect tradeoff for me. My fame for your fame. Besides, I’m alive and you’re dead.” Derek looked over at Mark. “Can you imagine hundreds of Derek impersonators?”
Mark cringed at the thought.
Elvis took off his sunglasses and stared Derek straight in the eyes. “I can’t allow that to happen.”
“Wait a minute!” Mark said. “If you can travel through time, why can’t you go into the past and stop yourself from getting hooked on painkillers and prevent your own death?”
“It doesn’t work that way. I can’t change the past. Only the future. If I could, Elvis Presley would still be here today making hit song after hit song. Now, Derek, I’m giving you just one chance. Do not smear my name.” He began to sing “Heartbreak Hotel” and then vanished.
Derek and Mark stood there stunned.
“Did we just encounter Elvis from the grave?” Mark asked.
“And he was no zombie. Why would I go on an Elvis smearing campaign?” Derek asked puzzled. “Let’s head on back to Valparaiso. The sky is really dark. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the severe weather.”
The next morning, as Derek uploaded all the photos he took from the book fair onto his official website, he heard a door close. He looked out his window and saw the newspaper carrier place the Sunday edition into the newspaper box by his front door. He ran for the front door in anticipation of reading the article about them. A light blue humming bird was hovering in front of the door and flew away as Derek opened the front door to retrieve the paper. He grabbed the paper and opened it to the second page where the reporter said the article about them would be. The article was there, but to his horror, instead of a picture of the Ailes Brothers of Terror, there was a photo of the cardboard standup of Elvis who had nothing to do with their article.
“Idiot!” Derek screamed.
He ran toward the back bedroom where Mark was at his computer working on his latest novel.
“What’s the problem?”
“This!” Derek dropped the paper in front him. “Elvis has stolen our thunder!”
“Where are the photos the photographer took of us?”
“Apparently, nothing says the Ailes Brothers of Terror better than Elvis Presley himself!” Derek started to storm out of Mark’s room and stopped. “Elvis will pay for this. I don’t care what his warning was. Even if it’s the last thing I ever do, I am going to destroy his legacy!” He thought for a few seconds about the best way to accomplish the task. “I’ll write the scariest horror novel ever with Elvis as the psychotic killer. Elvis Presley will be the next Freddy Krueger. The next Jason Voorhees. When they make the movie out of it, Kane Hodder will play Elvis!”
As Derek finished talking, the ground in Graceland shook violently. The large gravestone of Elvis cracked in half and fell into the ground below. A skeleton slowly crawled out of the grave. As the skeleton crawled forward, internal organs began to form, followed by muscles, and then skin and hair until Elvis was once again alive. He snapped his fingers and was wearing his favorite blue outfit. He looked over at his mansion and smiled.
“To the one that brought me back from the dead; thank you, thank you very much.” He danced around excitedly. “I think it’s time for Elvis to visit Derek in Valparaiso, Indiana, but first, I have a taste for a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Hell, it’s been decades since the King has had anything to eat.”
Derek, still angry about the newspaper article, wrote a two page blog about how Elvis was overrated and was as good an actor as George W. Bush was as president. He titled the blog post: Hunk of Burning Crap – Derek Ailes Vs Elvis. He posted a picture of Elvis as a zombie which he found searching on Google pictures. Once he finished posting the blog, he began to write his new horror novel: Memphis Damnation.
The next morning, Derek opened the front door to get the newspaper, and the humming bird was back hovering in front of the door. His jaw dropped as he took a closer look at it. The humming bird was wearing a black hair piece and a shiny yellow Elvis costume. It began to sing “Jailhouse Rock”. Derek closed the front door and looked out the window. Across the street, his neighbor was mowing his lawn wearing an Elvis costume. He shook his hips as he pushed the lawn mower. Another one of his neighbors was sitting on the front porch dressed as Elvis drinking a Pepsi. His wife was also dressed as Elvis and they were playing Yahtzee.
Derek pinched himself hoping he was dreaming. He looked over at his clock and it was frozen at 8:16 a.m. He heard a car honk its horn repeatedly. He looked outside and saw a 1955 Pink Cadillac Fleetwood parked in front of his house. The door opened and Elvis climbed out pointing at his house. An older man slowly walking down the street with help from his cane approached the car. Elvis put his hand on his shoulder and the old man transformed into an Elvis impersonator.
“Thank you, thank you very much,” the impersonator said.
“Don’t mention it.”
“Love the Cadillac.”
“Thanks,” Elvis said as the impersonator walked away.
Elvis began to dance his way up to Derek’s front door. “Derek, time for us to have a confab. Come outside and face me like a man.”
Derek locked the deadbolt.
“I don’t need to see you to know you have a yellow stripe down your back!” After a few minutes of waiting impatiently, Elvis went back to his car and grabbed an acoustic guitar and a lawn chair out of the trunk. He placed the lawn chair on the sidewalk and sat down. “I have an eternity to waste and a lot of songs in my repertoire.” He sang “That’s All Right” and then “Don’t Be Cruel” followed by “Return To Sender”. After singing several more songs, during which a crowd had gathered around him, he looked at the front door. “Hey, I think it’s time to debut my new song “Derek Is A Douchebag.”
He stood up and touched each person on the shoulder turning them into an Elvis impersonator. He sat back down and sang:
There was a coward from Indiana
Who thought he was the king of the world
His writings were one dimensional
No soul would download
A spineless troll he was
As Charlie Sheen would agree
There was no hope for Derek
No fame would he achieve
Such a douchebag
Such a douchebag
The door opened violently and Derek rushed out of the house. “Enough! I can’t take it anymore.”
Elvis looked over at his impersonators and with a smile he ordered them to attack. The mob of impersonators rushed at Derek like a horde of hungry zombies. He ran, trying to outrun them, down the street toward Highway 6. As he was close to the Salvation Army Church on the corner, he tripped crashing to the ground. The mob surrounded him and lifted him up over their shoulders. Like someone crowd surfing at a concert, he was passed from one impersonator to another until he was slammed hard onto the ground in front of Elvis.
Elvis smiled sinisterly as he kneeled down in front of him. “Derek, this is your last chance. Stop your anti-Elvis antics.”
Derek looked at him with hatred in his eyes. “Never!”
“You leave me no choice,” Elvis said and put his right hand on Derek’s right shoulder.
Dr. George Nichopoulos led Mark down the long corridor of the Valparaiso Porter-Starke Mental Hospital.
“Is he all right?” Mark asked.
“He’s making progress. With further treatment, I think we can help him.”
The doctor opened the door to Derek’s room. He was sitting in the corner wearing a straitjacket.
“Your brother is here to see you.”
Derek, talking in a way only an Elvis impersonator or Elvis himself would speak, said. “Hello, the name’s Elvis.”